Life at PCD

Chowder Day & Reunion

SATURDAY, October 14, 2023

Join us for our annual family homecoming and alumni reunion. A full day of athletic events, family fun, and delicious New England chowder make this a "don't miss" kind of day!

This community-wide event began in 1944 and has been a much-anticipated annual tradition ever since. Parents, grandparents, students, siblings, alumni, alumni parents, and friends come together to cheer on the PCD Knights in athletic contests throughout the day, enjoy chowder and clam cakes, and chat with old friends and new.

Everyone is welcome—the more the merrier!

2023 Schedule

Friday, October 13, 2023
Reunion Dinner  
Evan R. West Field House
6 p.m. cocktail reception
7 p.m. dinner

Saturday, October 14, 2023

9:00 AM - 1 PM
Registration & Coffee
Welcome Tent on the field
Alumni, pick up your pin for complimentary chowder.

9:00 AM      
Middle School Cross Country vs. RISE Prep, Community Prep, Lincoln and Wheeler Schools
Campus Perimeter

9:00 AM
MS Volleyball vs. Community Prep
Moran Gymnasium

9:00 AM        
Middle School Girls “A” Soccer vs. Times 2 Academy / Paul Cuffee School Co-op
Varsity Turf Field

9:00 AM
Middle School Boys “A” Soccer vs. Community Prep School
Varsity Turf Field

10:00 AM    
JV Girls Volleyball vs. Times 2 Academy / Paul Cuffee School Co-op
Moran Gymnasium

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM  
Children’s Activities
Children of all ages will find fun throughout the day:
Enjoy face painting, balloon animals, decorating fall and Halloween wooden shapes, creating cheer posters and sticks to support PCD throughout Chowder Day, and getting the sillies out in the bouncy house and on the playground. 
11:00 AM
Varsity Cross Country vs. Rocky Hill, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, St. Andrew’s
Campus Perimeter

11:00 AM
Henry Barnard School Alumni Meet-up
Field House

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM  
Chowder Buffet Luncheon
Evan R. West Field House
Enjoy delicious New England clam chowder generously provided by Blount Fine Foods with additional support from FLIK Dining Services and Tourtellot & Co.

11:30 AM  
Varsity Girls Volleyball vs. Times 2 Academy/Paul Cuffee School Co-op
Moran Gymnasium

11:45 AM    
National Anthem
Varsity Turf / Woodruff Fields

12:00 PM      
Varsity Girls Soccer vs. Rogers High School
Varsity Turf Field

12:00 PM      
Varsity Football Senior Recognition
Woodruff Field
12:15 PM
Varsity Football vs. Hope High School
Woodruff Field

2:00 PM
Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Times 2 Academy / Paul Cuffee School / St. Patrick’s Co-op
Varsity Turf Field
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
People of Color Gathering
Haberlandt Auditorium in Lund Hall

Athletics Hall of Fame
Evan R. West Field House
6 p.m. cocktail reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Program Start

Chowder Day History

If you are the author or know who is, please let us know!
Sometime in 1943 or 1944 a sublime thought came to Carl Hesse. What his motivation was has been lost. It could have been to create an occasion for the PCD community to come together one more time, before what was sure to be a difficult winter. The war in the Pacific and Europe was trudging through some of its darkest hours and there were PCD boy involved and yet to be involved. With the closeness of this community the realities of war would have been only a hand clasp away.

Perhaps it was a recollection of his own past that inspired him. Perhaps, just a frivolity, a distraction to, for a few hours, hide away the burdens of war; a celebration of the boys and their youth. Whatever the reasoning, headmaster Ed Lund must have thought the idea was a good one.

The event that emerged in the fall of 43 or 44 was the “Chowder Party.” The only sport played on that day was football. But the feeling on campus must have been similar to the myriad sport “Chowder Day” that we now know. The snap in the air, the collage of the leaves. The flashes and patches of red and black on the playing field and stippled about the crowd of spectators and the smiles, the bugs, the cheering.

After the game, then as now, their and our focus turned and turns to chowder. The answers to why chowder was chosen are speculation. Purely New England warming in all aspects, a simple delicacy for a family to gather around. Each person giving some small portion, each portion combined with the others; the end product being greater than the some of its parts, the resulting experience being joyous, fulfilling, memorable, was chowder Hesse’s metaphor for PCD?

Through the years the ingredients for “Chowder Day” have varied but the flavor remains the same. In the early years the fathers of students cooked the chowder on the “east side” and served it on the “west side” in Metcalf Gymnasium (now relocated to the east of Pawtucket Ave and serving as the Middle School). Besides clam chowder, coffee, corn, donuts, apples and, of course, clam cakes have shared the menu.

Floral decorations for one particular “Chowder Party” were chrysanthemums in football helmets. In 1955, 365 alumni, parents, students and friends assembled to join in the revelry. There was a light drizzle in the air that day, the yearbook makes note: “cars lining the field attested to the loyalty of fans who took to the bleachers at dry moments.” Each year a little different, each year so much the same.

This is dedicated to “Chowder Day,” to Carl Hesse, to Ed Lund, to all those chowder cooking fathers, to the alumni and to all the students and parents of PCD. Turn your thoughts to the symbol of this day and why Carl Hesse chose it, the modest soup of New England with complex flavor, Chowder.